Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Forget Me Not Pt.1

     Can you imagine waking up and your whole world being gone and I don’t mean gone as in the world was Nuked or unmade, I mean just your life, you memories, your loves, hates; your family and friends. What if all you could remember was a girl you had spent less than three hours with; well that’s exactly what happened to me and this is where the story takes on a life of its own.
      The sun was shining so brightly that it hurt your eyes and forced you to shield them if you were walking directly into it, he took refuge in a library he had walked past many times though the refuge was not just to take a break from the burning sunlight, he was a photographer and for quite a while he had been meaning to go inside; the outside had been plucked right out of the 19th century and he wondered if the inside was just as stunning. When he stepped in his scruffy blue converse drawing no sound from the deep mahogany floor of the foyer he found something more beautiful than he had been expecting.
“Good morning” her voice rang out around the foyer, bright and cheery, he smiled at her
“Morning” he replied glancing back over his shoulder as he made his way up the grand staircase, she was beautiful and though he had not been intending to he joined the library.
     Work was relatively quiet and not because she worked in a library because she worked the ground floor foyer and was therefore able to ‘meet and greet’ people as they walked in. Occasionally she would get the odd tourist asking for directions or explanations though for the most she just answered the phone and sang ‘good morning’, ‘good bye’ or ‘good afternoon’, it was for the most part a boring job. Then he walked into the building with a camera around his neck and a sweet smile on his face, his grey blue eyes met hers as she greeted and caused the slumbering butterflies in her stomach to waken and beat a hurricane in her stomach. For the next few weeks they flirted silently and then she did something she didn’t normally do, something that shocked even her; she asked him out. It wasn’t that she was old fashioned but she was on occasion shy and retiring and so when he came to the reception to ask a question and she blurted the words, would you like to get a drink sometime, she shocked herself slightly. When she asked him out he was taken aback slightly, this was not because he felt threatened by strong and confident women but he had been working up the courage to ask her and when she asked him though it surprised him a little it did make him feel relieved.       
      With-in a week it was as though they had known each other for years though only technologically speaking and their first date was far from awkward though it lasted only a few hours and the second date was a long time coming, if at all. They continued to talk but never quite got around to making their way on a second date and though she liked him more than she was willing to admit in her mind there is only so long a girl can wait and so when he failed to reply to a text message she let it be, after all life is too short.
     Three quiet weeks had passed, he had not been to visit the Library nor had she heard a word spoken or sent and then she got a phone call;
“Hello?” She questioned, the call was coming from Charlie though she was unsure why he was calling,
“Leigh?” a voice replied from the other end but it was not the voice she was expecting,
“Speaking, who...” She began but was cut off by the voice of the unknown woman
“This may seem strange to you Leigh and I must apologise but I need your help, my name is Mary Winters, I’m Charlies mother and well...” she paused and for a second Leigh was unsure whether she should fill the empty silence, “can we meet somewhere, what I have to tell you, to ask is better off said in person” she finally said.
“Um Sure” Leigh replied though she was unsure “There’s a cafe, Cafe Bisou...” she started
“Yes I know where it is, 2'o clock?”  
 “Okay” Leigh replied still very confused.
     Leigh had tried to prepare herself however when she stepped from the rain drenched summer streets into the sweet smelling, coffee bean, fresh cookie warmth of the cafe she was still full of nervous energy and she knew exactly who she was here to see. She was sat at a table for two set with a vase of fresh bluebells and yellow roses, the woman was dressed in a smart suit though her hair was dishevelled and damp and her makeup which had clearly not been re-applied before she had left to meet Leigh, revealed sore red rimmed eyes,
“Mrs Winters?” Leigh asked as she cast a dull shadow across the silent woman,
“Yes” she said standing and knocking the table slightly,
“I’m Leigh”
“Of course” she said grasping Leigh’s outstretched hand
“Can I get you something Mrs...” Leigh began to offer,
“Please Call me Mary and no I’m fine thank you Leigh” She replied, Leigh smiled and ordered herself a hot chocolate and sat down across the table from the desperately sad woman,
“Please forgive me Mrs...Mary but I still don’t understand what it is I’m doing here” Leigh wondered as she sat at the quaint table,
“Charlie was in a car accident, four weeks ago he had a very bad head injury; swelling and so the doctors put him into a coma so that his brain could get better but when he finally woke up he couldn’t remember a thing” Mary jumped right into the awful tale, only pausing to dab at her eyes with a tissue,
“Oh my god...I’m so sorry” Leigh gasped
“When I say that he couldn’t remember anything, well, he couldn’t remember a thing other than you Leigh” she said finishing the story. Leigh did not know what to say for what could have been an eternity, she sipped her cooling hot chocolate and waited for Mary, hoped for her to say something; finally she did,
“The doctor, the Psychologist and Myself and his father believe that the only way to get Charlie back is for him to be around what he knows and since the only thing he knows is you Leigh...Will you help?” Mary asked,
“Me-I-but how can I help?” Leigh asked
“Spend time with him, move in with him I know that you have a job Leigh but I am willing to pay you for as long as it takes, I need my son back, please” Mary Winters was begging her. Leigh though about what she was asking her to do, to give up her life to help a man that she had only been on one date with, a man she had spent time with only a handful of times, a man who could remember nothing other than the basics and her; he knew Leigh better than he knew his own friends and family.
“What about Beau?” Beau was Leigh’s dog she was a charcoal greyhound mix with a silver smudge on the top of her head and she was everything to Leigh,
“your dog, she can come too of course I know how much she means to you Charlie has told me, he remembers her too” as she said the words her voice broke at the thought of her own son knowing a dog better than he knew her.
“Okay” Leigh agreed though she was still unsure.
     Leigh agreed to go and visit Charlie that afternoon she considered what she might say to him because at the current moment she was his whole world and he was not hers; should she act as though he had just been in a huge accident, should she talk about the weather, the news he had missed while he had been sleeping, maybe she would just let him do the talking. She had accepted a lift from Mary Winters though she only lived 20 minutes from the cafe and she had left her seated with a glass of water and a very welcoming Beau,
“I’ll be just one second” Leigh said as she disappeared into her bedroom to change into something more casual and then they left, she wondered whether it might be appropriate to buy some flowers or grapes but his mother informed her that he had everything he needed, she was slightly short with Leigh,
“How dare you get short with me, I am giving my life up for you and your son, a son who can only remember me which might suggest that he has some kind of inner problem with you , how dare you!” this is what Leigh would have said had she not been riding in a lift full of patients, doctors, nurses and visiting relatives with a woman who was at the time wiping fresh tears from her cheeks and so Leigh bit her lip.
     They walked down the corridor in silence, the generic smell of bleach, medicine and sickness that every hospital no matter how expensive, seemed to hold, Leigh tried not to breath too deeply she hated the smell it made her feel uncomfortable. As they rounded one of the many corners that the hospital held Charlie came into view, he was sat up in bed working on his laptop, the silver grey of his hair, which had been left un-made and slightly mussed, shone in the bright sunlight that filled the room, he had started going grey when he turned 17 but he wore it well, that and the deep rainy day blue of his eyes had made Leigh fall for him. He looked up from the screen just as she rounded the corner; it was as though he sensed that she was there, he broke into a huge grin as their eyes met through the thick glass of the room window. She smiled back; she couldn’t help it despite the situation that they were now in, his smile was infectious and when she considered the fact that other than Beau, she was the only person he could remember she realised just how happy he must have been to see her.
“he hasn’t smiled at us like that since the day he left” Mary commented, she burst into tears and Leigh pulled her into a hug, she glanced at Charlie, his face showed genuine concern but what it didn’t hold was the pain that a child might feel at seeing one of their parents in emotional pain.
“I think I should go in on my own, just for a few minutes” Leigh said suddenly, Mary didn’t look at her, she didn’t answer with words but only nodded her head and moved to sit on one of the dusky pink coloured chairs that were set in a U shape in the waiting area. Leigh took a deep breath, her hands were shaking, her palms were sweaty and at that moment more than ever the smell that the hospital held was making her feel sick to her stomach. Her hand paused on the door; it gripped the handle for a second keeping her eyes cast down at her feet and then without warning the door handle left her hand and Charlie was stood in front of her. She looked up in shock as the door opened and was even more shocked when he pulled her into a hug, something he had not even given her at the end of their first and only date. 
“You look great, it’s so good to see you, how are you, I’m so glad you’re here Leigh” He gushed all at once, over whelming her
“Thank you, um okay, just give me a minute” Leigh said pulling from the hug and taking a step back from him,
“Sorry this must be strange for you” He said “please come in and sit down” he added retreating back into the room and sitting back on the bed, Leigh looked him over, he looked good for a guy who had been in a near fatal car crash only four weeks ago. His skin was a little pale but his eyes still held a sharp bright glint, he was dressed in a dark blue t-shirt and pyjama bottoms with matching stripes and Leigh could smell the light scent of Jean Paul Gautier, he looked really good. She smiled at him again and he returned it though this time it was a much softer smile,
“I’m sorry about that greeting, I’m guessing it was a little overwhelming” he said
“Just a little” she said taking a seat across from him “so how are you?” she asked
“Honestly a little overwhelmed myself, better for seeing you, someone I actually know” He said
“Yeah I can’t imagine what you’re going through” she replied
“It must sound crazy to you but this is the most relaxed I’ve felt since I woke up” He said with a smile and silence fell between them for a few minutes until he spoke again filling the void, “Pretty weird second date huh?” he said with a grin and they both broke out into laughter after that they settled into comfortable conversation until a knock rang out in the room. Mary Winters stood at the door, she had composed herself and now she wanted to join them, Charlie signalled that it was okay and they were once again plunged into an awkward silence.
“Charlie sweetheart, your father and I and your doctors have been discussing what might be best when you leave the hospital and well we think that the best chance you have of re-gaining your memory might be to surround yourself with the things that you do remember, those things being Leigh and Beau” she said, Charlie looked at Leigh for confirmation,
“She’s right Charlie, it might be your best chance” She said
“Leigh has agreed to move in with you sweetheart and to give her time to helping you remember” Mary continued
“I can’t ask you to give up your life Leigh as much as I would love to be around you all of the time but...” Charlie protested his unmade silver hair brushing gently against his forehead as he shook his head ‘no’
“Charlie, honey, please...” Mary began to talk but Leigh knew that he wouldn’t listen to her and so she took control,
“Charlie believe me when I say I didn’t want to do this” she said honesty “ we have been on only one date now moving in with you after one date if you had your memory would be the least thing on my mind never mind me being the only thing you can recall but you do have a family, one that loves you as far as I can tell, a great group of friends from what you told me and I think you owe it to them to accept my help and I’m all for helping others” she said with a cheeky smile “plus I was hoping for a third date, you know away from the hospital” Leigh added he smiled at her,
“But what about your job, your life?” he asked
“I am willing to pay Leigh for her help” Mary said
“It’ll all work out Charlie, I can bring the things I love with me and together we can get to know you better” Leigh smiled at him,
“Okay” He agreed.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

The phantom door bell

     Jordan Granger had taken the job because, simply, it was Christmas; Christmas had come around again, already, and therefore Jordan needed the extra money. She had an old friend, a friend of the family who worked at the school and needed an extra worker, needed an extra worker to clean. She was going to clean a school, clean up after small, messy and probably ungrateful little children, though she didn’t mind when it came to work, money was what she needed and any work would do. She had worked as a cleaner, a waitress and a bar maid and so a cleaning job didn’t much bother her. She woke for work every day at 5am; the dark mornings of the British winter didn’t help in her rising and the cold of the season tempted her to stay curled up in bed but never the less she rose and dressed and all on time, sometimes earlier then was necessary. She danced around from foot to foot forcing the warmth into her body whilst the caretaker, her old family friend, opened the gates and doors to the old school; she gingerly walked through each corridor and room turning on the lights before she entered desperate to illuminate the hidden corners and crevices.
     The school was an odd shape in ran from one set of classrooms to a long glass corridor to a second set of classrooms, her area to clean, and then outside and across a court yard was a nursery. The building was old and converted, two adjuring schools brought together to form one. The children who attended ranged from ages 4-8 and they themselves didn’t make a lot of mess for Jordon to clean. It was in fact the teachers who spread the most chaos. She arrived at the school at 6am, the darkness of the night still blanketed the world and many people still slumbered in their beds, she set straight to work; once she had reached her area Jordon gingerly reached through a small gap in each classroom door and flicked on three light switches. She avoided looking into the room until the light had filled it and then fastened the doors open. She then set about filling two buckets, identical barring the colour: one blue and one red, with disinfectant and a mop bucket with lemon scented floor cleaner. She took her marigolds, the two buckets and made her way first to the bathrooms where she cleaned down the basins and wall tiles and scrubbed out the toilets. Once she had done this Jordon carried out a task she hated the most, she had to venture down to the cellar. The cellar was a place filled with noises than drifted through the darkness and made Jordon’s heart beat faster; one thing that scared people universally was the thing that they could not see, the thing hidden around a corner or behind a door or in the darkness and Jordon Granger was no different. She quickly, holding her phoned in her hand, flicked the top light switch on and illuminated the dark concrete stairs. She then tiptoed down the dusty steps and reached around the corner to switch on the second set of lights. She moved quickly from one room to the other and collected the materials that she needed most often paper towels and toilet tissues. Then she filled up the empty holders, including the soap dispensers and then she swept the floor and mopped it. Once she had done this she checked the bins, wiped down the tables and hoovered every inch of ever classroom and the joining areas.
     This routine continued everyday; often her time would be spend longer in one area, if one classroom was particularly unclean, if glitter had been used and often she would bleach out the toilets and the sinks. It became very mundane and tiresome; the same thing every day over and over, early morning after early morning. Jordon often considered listening to her music or an audio book but always changed her mind in fear of not hearing a noise that was not supposed to be. So she continued with her mundane, repetitive tasks day after day. Until one morning something changed.
     Jordon Granger had an overactive imagination and she usually used this to zone out a very boring conversation or situation and she used it to write. Writing was all she would do if she could but unfortunately it often to a back seat in her life, leaving her imagination to run wild. On this particular morning the wind blew icy and spatters of rain attacked any exposed flesh, Jordon stood and waited for the gates and doors to open all the time trying to huddle farther and farther into her coat to the point that she was farther out of the coat then she was in it. Once the front door had been unlocked and buzzed open, the four of them huddled in and each waited for the alarm system to be turned off. Nothing out of the ordinary until the alarm continued to relentlessly blare out. It was stopped. Yet with a single movement it was sounding yet again; refusing for another 5 minutes to turn off, leaving any person in its vicinity with a blinding headache. Once everything seemed quiet each person began to make their way toward their respective areas but before Jordon and the caretaker, who always made their way through the building together, reached the first corridor the door bell sounded, reverberating around the empty building. The both of them looked up, shocked,
“Who is that?” the care-taker, Chris asked
“We’re all here” Jordan replied quietly her heart pounding hard against her chest from fear of the unknown
“I’ll go take a look” the words made Jordon suck in a deep breath; she would have happily left the door locked until the dawn broke when 7:30 showed on the clock faces. But instead she also volunteered to go and look. The two mad their way back to the front doors, Jordon hung back slightly for fear of what they might find, her imagination already running over time though when they reached the doors no one was to be seen outside. The doors were open and each person peered out into the dark morning; they saw not one person. The corners were checked and words were called but no one made themselves seen or answered back and so the two of them made their way back inside, locking the doors. 
     Jordon continued with her work, she made her way through her tasks as she did on any other day however there was something playing on her mind; Jordon had always had a slightly over active imagination and the phantom door bell had stirred her mind. As she went into the darkened classrooms, she quickly switched on each light, keeping her eyes averted, her mind playing tricks on her in the darkness. She moved quickly to the toilets though as she cleaned each tiny bathroom her imagination began to play again, noises drifted in from the corridor, she heard footsteps echo down the corridors, breathing and tapping. Her heart began to pound at an elevated rate, she glanced around the corner, nothing. Jordon continued, she willed the morning darkness to give way to the sunrise but knew that it would not for another couple of hours; she bit her lip and carried on ignoring her imagination.
     As she mopped still more sounds met her ears, creeping, tiptoeing sounds, breathing from behind her, she looked over her shoulder, mopping faster and faster until she had finished. Jordon thought about going to find one of her colleagues but she felt stupid, there was nothing there, no one was stalking up behind her to kill her,
“Idiot” she whispered to herself moving on. For a few minutes as she wiped tables and tidied small chairs her mind behaved itself and then she realised something, her friend who usually came down to see how she was doing had not come down, now her imagination was raging once more,

 Oh god what if they’re, no, no their not, oh no what am I going to do, oh no, what if I’m the only one left

She began to breathe heavily as her heart raced,

You’re being so stupid

She said to herself, she took a deep breath, moving onto the next class room and then the next until she was finished and by the time she had she had once again convinced herself that everything was okay. Jordon continued her work happily without incident until she had to get the Hoover. The Hoover was stored in a cellar, a dark cellar, the main light switch was located at the bottom of the stone stair and Jordon was not happy about going down into the dark. As she moved toward the cellar door, a sound reverberated around the classrooms, something had shifted, she heard a second noise, soon her breathing had escalated again and sweat touched her brow; she moved quickly, ran to the cellar door, grasping at the key, she doped it. Jordon could feel who or whatever was in the building moving closer and closer toward her, she snatched the key from the floor and struggled to get it into the lock, suddenly she felt like one of the girls being chased in a horror film. Finally the key slipped into the lock, a heavy thudding sound filled the air,

Quick, quick

She hurried herself, just as she pulled the door open, she felt it, her foot caught as she fell, her head hit the concrete steps first, her neck bending, though it didn’t snap, her arms flailed outward trying to catch a hold of something but there was nothing to hold; her left wrist bent beneath her as she fell; she landed with a thud at the bottom, her breathing heavy and strained.
As she lay there silently dying, she looked up toward the top of the stair, no one stood there, no one had been behind her or creeping up to get her, and now all she could hear was the slowing beat of her own heart as she felt the heat rise from the blood slowly spilling from her broken skull and she thought, finally, to herself, my imagination just killed me.                

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

100 word story: Ecstasy eyes

Marisol hadn’t always been blind.
When she could see she gazed upon mesmerising things like the man with the ecstasy eyes.
Every morning whilst sipping hot coffee their eyes would lock, they would flirt silently across the crowd but neither ever summoned the courage to speak.
One sunny morning Marisol found the strength though as she crossed the road a ray of light blinded her and the accident happened.
The operation was experimental but the outcome, if it worked, would give Marisol her sight back.
The bandages were unwound and in the mirror, though blurred she saw those ecstasy eyes.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

The melancholy tale of Jeffery knight

       During his time alive Jeffery Knight had been a rather faulty man though this wasn’t unlike many others, Jeffery seemed to be a rather sad example of a faulty man. He had met and married the woman of his dreams; the love of his life when he had been just 23 years old and for this he had felt blessed and he had realised just how lucky he was. He was grateful for her and realised that some people spent their whole lives searching for the partner of their dreams and that some never found them at all. However because of his faults Jeffery was a man who all too easily forgot about the important things in life, they would slip his mind for a few seconds, hours or even the whole day and then this would inevitably lead to conflict and anger. They had managed a few blissful years together before they moved into their very first, very own home and Jeffery had begun his ‘dream’ job. When he had first started out he had so wanted to mould the mind of the young, disillusioned youth though he soon found that it was he who was disillusioned. It soon became that Jeffery spent all of his free time in his local pub which would become his final downfall. Most people had some form of an addiction whether it be their children, their job, shoes, books, a passion or the more destructive of addictions; Gambling, Sex, drugs and alcohol and it was the latter that Jeffery was suffering from. He was an alcoholic and though it did not interfere with his ability to teach those who did not actually want to be taught it began to shred his personal life.
     It became that he spent more of his time drinking at the pub than he did with his wife and on more than one occasion she would march the short distance from their home to the pub with his cold dinner in her hands. She would walk in locate him and launch the plate of lovingly made dinner at his head and on more than one occasion he had followed her home covered in mash potato, gravy and some form of vegetable. They began to fight every night, she screamed at him, he listened and then he would drink and eventually they left what had been the home of their dreams though it was too late to help Jeffery he had already fallen so far down the spiral of self destruction that there was no way back for him, he was circling the drain. Just a few years after they had moved house Jeffery knight finally washed himself down that drain, he slipped from life, Alcohol had finally pulled the plug and washed him down the black hole in a tidal wave of vodka and whiskey. He left his wife alone and even after death he was not able to stay with her.
     Jeffery had truly loved his wife more than anything in the whole world however he was too ashamed of himself for what he had done, for the pain he had caused her and so he could not stay with her but he could not move on to whatever awaited him in the next world, if anything and so he moved to the next thing that he had loved with all of his heart; the first house that he and his beloved had owned, had live in together, they house that they had started in, that they had been so happy in, the last place they had been happy. He became a ghost who haunted. Since they had moved out there had been two owner of his home, another teacher though not one who ruined his own life and the second had been a family who were still living there. When he returned he found that they had added to the house though they had only made it more beautiful and now the mother, father and their two daughters were living happily. He did not disturb them, he did not want the house to himself and so he was not malevolent or angry he did not move furniture or shatter windows he only watched as they grew and made new memories and for the most part they did not know that he was there. However one day when his sadness over came him he materialised as he walked past the large kitchen widow, he had been to visit his old haunt at the pub and as he walked past his none existent tears rolling down over his translucent cheeks the father saw him. Though the family now knew that he was back and they knew that the spirit who had been leaving wisps of scent in the air had once owned their home they were not afraid. Jeffery felt at home once more though he missed his wife, he settled in and watched the family grow and he very rarely made himself known to them barring the odd open window, blast of cool air and occasionally a whistled melody in the dead of night.